There are many reasons why it's important to be civically involved, from contributing to your community in meaningful ways to the health benefits often found in those who actively serve as volunteers and on boards and committees of nonprofits and government agencies.
Although you may want to be more civically involved, it can be difficult to know where to start. Work, family and various other responsibilities can make it feel as if you don't have time for anything else in your life. However, civic engagement can be easier than you might think. There are several simple things you can do to support your community without a huge investment of your time, energy or money.
Below are six simple ways you can get more civically involved today:
- Pay attention to what’s happening locally: The key to civic engagement is understanding what's going on in your community. Read local newspapers and blogs and follow local organizations and businesses on social media so that you can stay up to date on local news and events. Being in tune with your community will enable you to find the right opportunities to get involved.
- Get to know community leaders: You might not be able to make major legislative or policy changes on your own, but you can influence important decisions if you know who to engage. Find out who is responsible for decision making in your community and connect with them. By establishing a relationship with key decision makers and elected officials, you can make sure that you have a platform to voice your thoughts on local policy issues come up.
- Participate in local volunteering opportunities: Investing time into improving life in your community is incredibly beneficial for you and the people around you. Get involved with local volunteer organizations that host neighborhood clean-up days, tree planting and food donations for those in need. All it takes is a couple hours a month for you to make a contribution to your community. What’s more, volunteering gives you a chance to meet and connect with your neighbors. You may even make a few new friends while you’re volunteering.
- Attend local meetings and events: Communities are constantly changing and developing, and it’s important that you know the kinds of changes that are coming. City planning and council meetings are usually open to the public, and they can give you essential insight into important local issues. If you hear a plan discussed at a meeting that you are confused about or don’t agree with, you can ask questions directly of city officials and/or committee members.
- Support causes important to you: Donating to national and global charities is a fantastic way to make a difference in the world, but your money could be even more impactful locally. Supporting local charities, fundraisers and institutions strengthens your community, and you’ll be able to see the positive changes you are helping to bring about.
- Advocate for important votes: If there is an important election or vote coming up that affects your community, make sure your voice is heard. Speak with your elected leaders and share your thoughts. During elections, encourage your friends and neighbors to get registered and vote on local races and ballot measures.
You don’t have to sacrifice all your free time to start getting more involved in your local community. You can take small steps to incorporate civic engagement into your life. Before long, community involvement will feel like second nature to you.
Want to get more involved with the Menasha Joint School District? Join Bluejay Nation today!